One difference between our travels in Europe and in the U.S. is that often breakfast is included with the stay in Europe. When we travel locally, if the room does come with breakfast, the food is likely bagels and toast and yogurt, with a bit of fruit (maybe). We’ve been known to pass up the “free” meal and go to a restaurant due to the mediocre quality of the hotel food. When we’ve journeyed to places like France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, breakfast is notable. Cheeses, meats, a variety of egg dishes, salads, veggies, guacamole, and even chocolate pudding (yum!) are ours for the eating. Thinking back on standout hotel breakfasts, some favorites come to mind. Here they are, along with the reasons these are memorable for me.
The Golden Adler Hotel in Innsbruck first opened its doors in the 1300s. The original stone can still be seen in places. Imagine starting your day with the echoes of 600 years of people coming and going here all around you.
Other times it’s not only the hotel itself, but what’s right outside the doors of the hotel. One of my favorite places I’ve stayed (ever!) is the Hotel des Grand Hommes in the Latin District of Paris. The hotel itself is elegant and comfortable, but here’s what amazed me. The Paris Pantheon was right outside our window.
Breakfast is served in the stone cellar. You proceed from the lobby down the winding stone steps to an elegant setting. You leave by the winding iron stairs. The bowls of fresh fruit and flaky croissants arrive at your table via a cheerful server, and you’re ready to enjoy the feast.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sometimes the hotel is small and is in what once was a residence. Breakfast is served in what was obviously the front room or dining room. Here’s where we stayed in Amsterdam, the Hotel Brouwer, with the year of its founding clearly noted — 1632. The front room was on the street, across from one of the canals.
Our food was kind of plunked down in front of us and no options or menu were given, but blue and white tiles hundreds of years old decorated the room. And a winding wooden staircase traversed through centuries led up to the rooms. So I was one happy traveler.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Then there is the hotel breakfast that is first class and offers so many delightful foods that you wish you could eat a week’s worth of meals in one sitting. We generally don’t stay in modern, upscale hotels during our trips to Europe. But we were heading to Bastogne to tour battlefields and couldn’t get a reservation at the few hotels in that small town. We “settled” for staying in Luxembourg City, a destination not on the radar of many of my traveling friends in the U.S. I was actually asked, “Why would you go to Luxembourg?” It turned out to offer fascinating casemates to tour, and I found a good rate on Le Royal Hotel. The breakfast offered cooked-to-order dishes and anything else you could imagine at the various stations. The breads filled one entire room. Take a look.
Of course, some hotels excel at breakfast for several reasons. We booked a return stay at the Hotel Elch in Nuremberg last year. The yummy breakfast is set out on lovely dishes and bowls and comes complete with fancy signage in German and English. And a big factor in our coming back here is that every staff person is so friendly and helpful. History? Yes — this building opened as an inn in 1342 and was one of the rare survivors of the bombing of World War II in this city. The medieval wall is a short block from here. Sometimes travel is so rewarding!